Peace Arch Portal To Blaine Bargains
Blaine Washington is a popular destination for Canadian shoppers who "Pop" over the border to fill up their car's gas tank and stock up on Milk, Cheese, Eggs, and other everyday household products. Recent parity of the US/Canadian dollars has resulted in crowds of Canadian weekend shoppers , but it is more than price that lures Canadians to area shops and stores. Ask any Canadian why they shop in Blaine, or nearby Bellingham and they are likely to tell you it is due to the great selection of products, many of which are not available in Canada and of course there is no Harmony Tax on U.S. products either which makes shopping in the U.S. an even greater value for Canadian shoppers.
Blaine Washington Peace Arch International Park & Border Crossing
The Peace Arch Border Crossing into British Columbia is part tourist attraction and part formal doorway to/from the U.S. and Canada. While not as prominent as the Brandenburg Gate or the North Korean border crossing it serves the same purpose. Blaine's Peace Arch Border Crossing gives you the unique experience and thrill of wandering over and back across the invisible political line that defines who you are, and what you can and can't do.
Blaine's Peace Arch International Park is a 40 acre expanse of manicured lawns contoured with beds of vibrant colorful flowers and dotted with unique and sometimes perplexing sculptures. One must-see on the American side of the Peace Arch Park is the Giant Gunnera Manicata plant with its massive 5 foot leaves. Standing alongside this monster rhubarb plant may remind you of the flesh eating plant in "The Little Shop Of Horrors" movie/Broadway play.
"What in the name of Sam Hill is that supposed to be?" The star attraction is the 67 ft high Peace Arch itself, built in 1914. This giant white monument was championed by famed Washington millionaire Samuel Hill, whose other projects included the replica of Stonehenge in Maryhill Washington. While the Sam Hill euphemism isn't referring to this Samuel Hill there are some people that are convinced otherwise.
Getting To Blaine Washington
The Peace Arch State Park and Border Crossing is located where the Northern end of I-5 freeway in Washington meets the Southern end of highway 99 out of British Columbia at the Canadian Douglas Border Crossing. When traveling north to Blaine take exit #276 just before the border and turn right/east and follow the signs.
When approaching the city of Blaine north on I-5 you have the choice of exiting to the truck border crossing or you can simply continue north to the Peach Arch crossing. The second border crossing was recently expanded to handle the larger traffic load during the Vancouver Olympics. Today the border crossing is used primarily by trucks, and high profile vehicles. Locals call it the Blaine Truck Crossing but it's official name is the "Pacific Border Crossing" and as you can imagine there are plenty of big rigs lined up to cross into Canada and it stays busy pretty much 24 hours a day.
Restricted And Prohibited Items At The Border
To use the Peace Arch Border Crossing you must have a passport or another form of document that proves your citizenship. Here is a list of some of the items that are currently restricted or prohibited. Haitian Animal Hide drums have been linked to cases of anthrax, Dog & Cat fur is prohibited, and Gold from the Sudan is a No-Go. The basic rule of thumb is, if it dangerous or expensive don't bring it.
Declare items such as items you intend to sell, items you bought in the Duty Free Shop, and and be sure to play by the rules and your border crossing should be smooth and pleasurable and always be respectful and courteous to the Border Crossing Guards--They don't have to let you through.
Duty Free Shops
Shop the Duty Free Shops on either the American or Canadian side of the border and save on fun and vice items like Liquor, Wine, Beer, Cigarettes, Gifts, Watches, Chocolates, Cosmetics, and Souvenir Items.
As of June 1st, 2012 Canada's duty free allowances have been liberalized. Allowances are $800 over 48 hours and $200 over 24 hours in the U.S. Canadians staying in the U.S. more than 48 hours are allowed 200 cigarettes, 200 grams of manufactured tobacco, 1.5 Litres of wine or 1.75 Litres of liquor or 24 355 ml cans/bottles of beer or ale. Check U.S. or Canadian customs websites for more information and current allowances.
Things To Do In Blaine Washington
Blaine is a great family friendly place to spend an afternoon. Here are just a few ideas.
Blaine Washington Visitor Center
728 Peace Portal Drive
Blaine, WA 98230
Phone (360) 332-4544
Toll Free: (800) 624-5555
Blaine WA Grocery Stores
The largest Supermarket/Grocery Store in Blaine is the giant Costcutter store with a full service bakery, deli, and meat department.
1733 H Street #100. (Phone 360 332-5909) Open Daily 7 a.m. to Midnight You can often purchase dairy, cheese and other foods often at a fraction of the cost back in B.C.
There are also a beautiful new Market Grocery Store just a few exits south in the recently renovated Birch Bay shopping center. The center is also home to a new Bob's Burger & Brew restaurant, Jack In The Box.
James G. Blaine
Blaine Washington is named after U.S. Senator from Maine, James G. Blaine a Republican who served as Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, and twice as secretary of state. Blaine was also a candidate for president in 1884 but lost to Grover Cleveland. In 1858 during the surveying of surrounding areas for the U.S. Government, there were two small towns both called Semiahmoo, one on the mainland and the other across the bay where what is now called Semiahmoo. In 1884 the town that is now modern day Blaine was named Concord but townspeople were big supporters of James Blaine so they decided to name the city Blaine.
Remnants Of Blaine's Past
Looking out over the bay at Blaine's marine park you may notice old posts and pilings sticking out of the water. These were once the support posts and pilings for a large waterfront lumber mill that supplied much of the lumber that rebuilt San Francisco after the great fire. Next to the lumber mill was a giant fish cannery, one of several during Blaine's logging and fishing heyday. In 1897 the city's population peaked to about four times its current size.
The site of the old lumber mill and cannery is now Blaine's popular waterfront marine park. As you stroll along the beautiful pathway and surroundings you may find it hard to imagine that this was also once Blaine's garbage dump and the entire peninsula is a man made landfill. On occasion major storms washed away portions of the landfill creating a cleanup mess for Blaine and White Rock residents so eventually the landfill was closed and the land mass was fortified to prevent further erosion. Marine drive which extends out the peninsula to the city pier has been refinished a number of times over the years. When the old Warf area was filled in they didn't remove the posts and pilings which are now rotting out below sometimes causing a bumpy roadway surface.
Real Estate is popular with many Canadians due to its proximity to Vancouver and southern British Columbia and home prices are downright bargain compared to B.C. Real Estate, especially with the recent parity of the US and Canadian Dollars. If you are a Canadian interested in investing in Blaine Real Estate you are not alone. As many as 30% of recent home sales have been to Canadian buyers. There are several real estate agencies available to assist you in searching for and purchasing area properties.
A New Blaine Emerges
There are a number of exciting developments in the planning stage for Blaine's downtown area, including new specialty shops, restaurants, and a unique boardwalk Along a portion of Peace Portal Drive. Once completed it will offer it's visitors panoramic views of Drayton Harbor, Puget Sound, and White Rock, B.C. Blaine's downtown waterfront rests on a small bluff of land offering visitors a great view the area's spectacular sunsets.
With the completion of the new boardwalk project, area residents will have a very special place to shop, dine, or just stroll along the waterfront as the sun sets over Vancouver Island. Several small condominium complexes have recently sprung up in the downtown area giving its residents the same beautiful harbor views and everything Blaine has to offer is either right outside their doorstep or within easy walking distance. Overall Blaine is a clean, friendly, and safe town that is proud of its unique geography and its prominence among U.S./Canadian Border Crossings.
Zip Codes For Blaine Wa 98230 & 9823 Population: Approximately 5000 Residents